Sunday, February 17, 2013

JDrama Review: Gokusen Season 2

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The Gist: Yankumi (Nakama Yukie) is left searching for another teaching position when Shirokin's closure leaves her particular style of education unwanted. That is, until a familiar face pulls her in to handle another band of misfits. Despite the familiar situation, Yankumi's back to square one, facing a troublesome class that doesn't trust her. It's back to the drawing board as Yankumi pulls out her punches, literally and figuratively, to help out her new class.


1. The New Class

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The new cast borrows heavily from boy bad Kat-tun: current member Kamenashi Kazuya as Ryu and former member Akanashi Jin as Hayato (I believe he was a current member when the series was filmed). I like the new cast for all the reasons I liked the old cast. Underneath the tough exteriors, they really are good guys just trying to find their own ways. As much as I miss the season one class, I found myself growing attached to the new class quickly.

2. Kuma

I was happy that at least one member of the original class came back! I loved seeing Kuma give advice to the newer generation. It also strengthened Yankumi's street cred as a badass and a good teacher to show her relationship with him. His reappearance worked as both a nostalgia factor and a good plot development.


1. Same Old Story

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Why fix what isn't broken? Going back to all the same tropes that made it popular in the first place, Gokusen 2 watches almost identically to season 1. Very similar problems are handled in very similar manners, even the cop character is just transferred to a teacher at a nearby school. Ryu's character is also painfully like Shin's, defined by the same apathy that's hiding a heart of gold. Still, if it was enjoyable the first time around, it'll be enjoyable the second time around too.


1. Lack of Romance

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The end of season one left things very open for Yankumi and I was really disappointed to see her foolishly enamored with a random character throughout season 2. I keep waiting for some serious plot development involving Yankumi's heart, but it just never comes. The manga seems to deal with this more seriously than the drama. Nothing really progresses for Yankumi, but that's not the center of the show. I just wish they'd add in a bit.

2. Lack of Sawada Shin

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After the strong development for the two in season 1, it's kind of discouraging that you just never see him again. 


So... if you like season 1, you'll like season 2. That's pretty much all there is to it. Well, except for season three.

Final Grade: B

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